MPs vote unanimously to strip Sir Philip Green of his Knighthood

The vote increases pressure for a formal process to withdraw Sir Philip's honour

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 20 October 2016 14:37
Comments
MPs recommend former BHS owner Sir Philip Green is stripped of knighthood

The House of Commons has unanimously backed a move to strip Sir Philip Green of his Knighthood.

During an impassioned debate, MP after MP stood to slam the former owner of BHS and lament the hardship suffered by its former employees.

Sir Philip was branded a "billionaire spiv" by one member who claimed Sir Philip had shamed capitalism by selling BHS for £1, with a £571 million pension scheme deficit.

Another compared the businessman to Napoleon, while a third said the House had no option but to back tearing away his Knighthood.

The vote is not binding, but it increases pressure for a formal process to begin which if seen through will see the businessman join the disgraced ranks of high-flyers who have been stripped of public honours.

Sir Philip Green tells Sky News cameraman 'that's going in the f****ng sea'

One blistering attack came from Labour MP David Winnick who told colleagues: "I see Green as a billionaire spiv, a billionaire spiv who should never have received a Knighthood, a billionaire spiv which has shamed British capitalism, and the least we can do today is to make our views clear and strong."

He questioned how Sir Philip was deemed worthy of a Knighthood in the first place, highlighting how the tycoon had put the business in the name of his wife, who lives in Monaco.

He went on: "It's a damning indictment, in my view, of what occurred."

Labour's Frank Field, who chaired one of the committees investigating Sir Philip, said: "Given my age, you may have thought I might be able to touch the hem of the garment of Napoleon.

"I never knew Napoleon, but in my mind's eye this was a character most like the Napoleon I read about in the history books while I was at school."

It was Mr Field that called the debate, but other MPs on all sides of the House echoed his comments.

Tory MP Charlie Elphicke said: "The ability of corporate bandits to asset-strip in this way, leaving employees and pensioners and deferred pensioners in the lurch, is one of the key things that needs to be reformed and protected.

"It's one of the key reasons that this country, people feel it works for the Philip Greens of this world rather than the working-class kids."

Sir Philip used an ITV News interview to apologise to workers for the "hardship and sadness" caused by the collapse of BHS and claim he "did everything possible" to keep the business from going under.

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